GL S1300 Convexa-S Smart Home Gateway

Convexa S

At one time or another I’ve covered many of the GL-iNET range of routers with more to come (Remember the little MANGO travel router?). I’ve been using a home setup comprising a TP-LINK W9980 VDSL2 main router attached to the local Internet provider’s modem for some time, following a lightning strike that [permanently took out my favourite Draytek Vigor 2830 router while I was over in the UK last year. In both cases I’ve been using a Raspberry Pi4 for home automation and running PiPN (Wireguard and OpenVPN) and Pihole on the latter – with the attendant port redirects on the TP-Link.

Convexa S – GL-S1300

Just recently after a couple of days of broadband outages followed by continued unexplained issues, I decided I needed to do better and upgraded PiVPN and Pihole to the latest versions (the latter running DHCP for my entire setup) as well as blocking junk. Since the updates I’ve been unhappy with the setup (most likely Pihole) as I kept losing DHCP and hence connectivity to my mobile and various IOT devices.

So, I’ve taken the plunge and replaced the TP-Link with the GL-iNet CONVEXA-S which handles Wireguard and OpenVPN pre-installed – and given recent experiences it seems that Wireguard is so much faster than OpenVPN, the latter becomes irrelevant. That single act of swapping to the Convexa has taken away the issues I was having and I swear speeded things up generally. Setting up the pre-installed Wireguard (trust me, I’m VPN phobic) on the Convexa was a doddle and pre-installed Adblock similarly activated without any effort. Both work a treat and without any obvious port redirects I now have my remote access to the RPi just as before, via VPN. The Convexa (S1300) has one WAN and 2 LAN connectors as well as 8GB of EMMC for file sharing, a captive portal, Bluetooth and USB for 4G backup broadband (I’ve yet to get the S1300 connected by USB tethering to my Xiaomi Poco X3 phone but it connects to my Doogee S96 Pro, no problem – and also now to a PULI 4G router which uses mobile data only when the normal broadband fails. I’ve been trying to get a setup like this for ages and this one WORKS.

The Convexa has a firewall and it also has Wifi 2.4G and 5G as well as guest WiFi on 2.4G and 5G. The unit will (apparently) handle multiple WANs so I’m counting on being able to USB-share 4G with it – the guest WiFi is on a different subnet but I could easily alter that if needed in the ADVANCED settings – as it happens I simply need to emulate my UK access point names from time to time. When the guest network is enabled, you can also enable portal login page and ALSO there’s an option to customise that page and it’e destination URL – handy if you run a hotel or cottage rental etc.

The antenna on the Convexa are internal but the WiFi seems to work just fine. The router uses Open-WRT firmware (like GL-iNET’s other products) and there is a ton of pre-installed software, more than I’ll ever use and plenty of storage space for more. Oh, did I mention MAC-cloning? I had to have that to save me getting our service provider to update their records from the old router (which in turn had a cloned MAC from my original Draytek router).


Update August 12, 2021

I just upgraded to firmware 3.203 (July 2021 release) and AdGuardHome is now natively supported by the firmware – and can be switched on by a simple command. Worthwhile having as this protects my system from lots of tracking nonsense without any obvious blocking of normal websites. Particularly noticeable in the AdGuardHome dashboard is the blocking of Amazon metrics – sometimes Amazon and Microsoft just don’t seem to know when to stop.